Saturday, October 24, 2015

On the Farm

Cindy and I visited her parents last weekend which I enjoyed the fellowship as well as visiting parcels of their farm and pasture lands. The above image is from the "Whorton" place, an 80 (80 acres) of a section. This land was purchased by Cindy's dad, John, for his wife and Cindy's mother Lola Jean. It was a present for Lola for taking care of his mother over a year when she was sick with cancer.
Most parcels are described as 80's (80 acres), quarters (160 acres), half sections (320 acres) and full sections (640 acres) which are a mile square. This area is in far northwestern Oklahoma, with a annual average rainfall of 20-25" a year, with very sandy soils which have low water holding capacity. This visit the sandy soils were very dry, and most of the cultivated land is planted with cereal wheat which is in dire need of moisture.
I have hunted quail on this particular property for most of my adult life and always enjoy coming back and reminiscing.
Most of the land parcels are named after people whom previously owned the property or the leaser if the land is leased. Almost all of the quarters in the area have some kind of oil wells which have cattle guards so the oil maintenance workers (called pumpers) can check their wells. This image above serves as the entrance with a cattle guard which allows entrance without a gate but keeps cattle from leaving. Also the image above shows a old corral with a windmill and stock tank. The land is primarily tallgrass prairie plants planted during the Conservation Reserve Program 20-30 years ago when the federal government paid farmers to take marginal cultivated land out of production and plant into prairie grasses and legumes and to be be left still. Recently many farmers have took these properties out of the program and replanted them or began cutting the prairie for hay which my in-laws have done. This land contains mainly Big(Andropogon)and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium) mainly on the high ground, Switchgrass (Paniucum) in the low areas which hold more moisture, and Sand Lovegrass (Erogrostis) which was planted across the road and has blown in and populated the old CRP plantings. The Love grass is not as beneficial for cattle as the Bluestems and Switchgrass. In the areas which are not planted in CRP the old short grass prairie plants are more prevalent such as Buffalograss, Gramma grasses, native Eragrostis and various forbs. Native Artemisias are prevelant along ditchbanks with wild plum thickets and annual Buckwheat prevalent this time of year.
Artemisia frigada-Fringed sagebrush with Ereigonum annum-Annual Buckwheat, Quercus marilandice-Blackjack Oak and Helianthus spp-sunflower. 
Annual Buckwheat bloom.
Sorry for the quality of the images as they are all taken. from a iPhone. I left my DSLR at home of all places.
You can see the red tint to the sandy soil, definitely common to many parts of Oklahoma. I'll be adding more images and story on my next blog post. Bye.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pure Prairie League

Pure Prairie League was/is one of my favorite country rock bands from the 70's just as the new prairie garden is maturing into my favorite garden area.
As most garden photographers understand the morning time period is a great time to 'shoot' the garden as well as view it from a golden standpoint.
Dalea purpurea-Purple Prairie Clover and Nasella tenuisima-Mexican Feather Grass.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

At the Waterhole

The Banditos have returned to our stock tank watering hole. Cedar Waxwings are providing the entertainment around the garden these days as the Western Hackberry trees(Celtis occidentalis) are providing much needed berries to the Robins, Starlings, and Waxwings.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Maxed Out

Hmmm.....doesn't look too abnormally large.
That's a pretty normal size of things.
That's a little more on the maximum size.
Bam! Yes, that's maximum. 9-10' Tall! Yes these plants are taller than the stop sign! whoops. They are impressive, however they are a little large and 'weedy' looking for me and for my small piece of property. The plant? Helianthus maximiliani -Maximilian Sunflower. I planted some by seed two years ago in a eastern exposure and the plants stayed pretty confined with late season interest that I enjoyed. This spring many seedlings were popping up every where including these plants which I allowed to grow while removing many more nearby. The size of the plant and texture of the foliage mixed in with the similar foliage of Western Ironweed created a combination that really isn't pleasant to the eye and they bloom so late.
It looks like a glob and most of the foliage has been eaten by lacebugs. So most of these are gone as I write this. I left a colony near the house and one plant on the right.
The blooms are impressive and the bees and ants love them.
This is Kansas you know.
More to come! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday September 2014

Yellow seems seems to be the color of choice for natives in my neck of the woods.
Some of the new blooms in the new native garden hellstrip are really responding to the growing conditions. Rudebeckia hirta, Verbena stricta, Eupatorium purpureum and Eryngium yuccifolium.

Rudebeckia subtomentosa-Sweet Black-Eyed Susan with Eupatorium purpurea- Sweet Scented Joe Pye Weed.
Ratibida pinnata-Yellow coneflower
In the vintage area of the hellstrip, Agastache foeniculum-Anise Hyssop, Dalea purpurea-Purple Prairie Clover, Panicum virgatum 'Dewey Blue', and Allium.
Schizachyriium scoparium'Blaze'-Blaze Little Bluestem in middle.
West half of the new prairie garden hellstrip.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Bliss

Echinacea purpurea, Schizachyrium scoparium 'the Blues', Helianthus maximiliani, Clamagrostis acutifolia 'Karl Foerster' and Rhus typhina 'Balitiger'.
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail', Eupatorium purpurea, and Rudbeckia hirta.
Nepeta 'Walkers Low', Ruellia humilis, Salvia azurea, Symphyotrichum ericoides, and Salvia farinacea.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Fathers Day Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2014

I suppose if it wasn't for GBBD I would barely post at all. So thank you Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting my monthly reminder.
It has been a relatively slow to bloom spring with alternate warm and cool weather this year. When I began planting my new perennial native bed in late April the temperature extremes fluctuated from 38 to 99 in two days. Now on this fathers day I am concerned about some newly planted natives I just received last week and our planned vacation next week and how they will survive while we're gone. Hopefully my watering fiend neighbor will do a fine job.
Onward with some photos:
Hollyhock in the Veggie Garden.

The entry Cottage Garden.
Cat Pink.
Purple Prairie Clover

Butterfly Milkweed Photo from the Cowley County Wildflower Tour

Happy GBBD!